Dead Air – the dangers of reprogramming your thought-life

It’s pretty risky to start changing your ideas of your self-worth, and emotional baseline. It means having to relearn skills, like basic conversation. Recently, I’ve been having moments of awkwardness in conversations unusual to me.

Not that awkwardness is unusual to me. But I’ve grown in confidence and comfort in my own skin, lately, so I’ve been feeling less consistently awkward. And that’s made it more obvious.

There was something about where this short-out was landing in the conversation. Weirder still, it didn’t feel embarrassing, just …silent.

And then embarrassing because I fumble the recovery, but laugh it off.

What is going on? I wonder, as I stare into the eyes of friend, trying to figure out where I lost the thread of how to converse.

I had an epiphany this week. I was sitting, talking a workshop idea in a pleasantly low-clatter cafe, having a gorgeous spiced cold-brew and being pleasantly blinded by reflected sunset. It was a great conversation with rapport and world-domination dripping from every word. Something was said, I smiled, and…dead air.

“This is where I am silently shy,” I joked. I tend to wear out quick when having intense conversation, but this wasn’t that.

And later, it hit me: my friend had said something nice. No, wait, this was a pattern!

Person says something nice, and I…

Don’t deprecate it. :instant brainshort:

THIS IS HUGE, FOLKS, I thought to myself.  Because I’ve been journaling and studying emotional health, trying to change my patterns just like this.

A friend once told me off for always putting myself down (startling me to no end). The last several years I’ve been hard at work to find those kernels of thought that made me feel the need to tear myself down, to reject compliments.

For one thing, it’s rude. People giving compliments may or may not be sincere, but it’s strikingly antisocial to contradict them.

So, I smile, and…now what?

I mean, skewering myself with a humorous self-knowledge, that’s an asset to any writer. Not going away.

But when you get rid of the reflex to laugh someone off, to tell them, “Oh no, I’m actually terrible”, what then?


“Thank you.” “I appreciate you saying that.”

Time to continue improving my social skills, I guess. (<– that? That is honest skewering. Not self-flagellation.)

Now I know what’s going on, though, I know I can work it out. (<–and that is honest confidence.)


Do you find yourself contradicting people who say nice things about you?

Have you had to reprogram your thoughts to be more confidence? Tell me all about it! Here in the comments, or on Unlock Coaching’s FB page

~ Bethany, Your Friendly Neighborhood Health Coach


Interested in reprogramming yourself for more creativity and less self-sabotaging trash talk?

The MoJo workshop, launching in July, will guide you through a month of meaty journaling. Get Back Your MoJo

Better yet, sign up for my newsletter AND get a steep discount on MoJo: Unlock My Best

4 thoughts on “Dead Air – the dangers of reprogramming your thought-life

  1. Awesome! Could never articulate those thoughts and feelings. Yes! I’ll sign up! And get the discount! Love you, Bethany!


  2. My husband’s family has a similar self-depracating response– they can’t accept gifts. It is the weirdest thing to me to give someone a present and have them find a reason to politely reject it. (Hey, there’s no “polite” in rejection, folks!) Dear hubby has had to work his thinking around over the years to where he can graciously accept a gift from someone. This kind of re-thinking, and re-responding takes practice and is not as easy as just seeing the problem. Kudos to you for making a deliberate change in conversation!


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